In March 2020, South Africa confirmed its first case of COVID-19. Seven months later the country had just over 650 000 people who had tested positive for the new coronavirus. Here’s what our local epidemic has looked like over time.


Since South Africa reported its first case of COVID-19 in March, Bhekisisa has been taking daily statements from the national health department and turning them into easy-to-understand graphics.

Initially, these maps were a way to help people visualise the spread of the virus throughout the country and see how the epidemic was growing. Then in July, as South Africa’s outbreak was changing and case numbers were dropping, we decided to introduce a new element and showcase the number of active cases in the country.

This resource is designed for you to scroll through and get a quick snapshot of what South Africa’s epidemic looked like on a specific day. You can also use it to track how the outbreak has evolved over time.

South Africa: COVID-19 Active Cases from 6 July to present

421. 31 August 2021

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There are 2 777 659 confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Africa, as of 31 August. This includes 7 084 new cases.

To date, 12 568 525 vaccines have been administered — with 279 047 new vaccinations reported.

Of these, 5 985 293 people were completely vaccinated with 2 834 953 people receiving the Johnson & Johnson jab and 3 150 340 receiving their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

A total of 2 544 563 recoveries have been reported to date, which is 10 607 more since the day before.

To date, 16 475 179 tests have been conducted. Of these, 49 168 are new.

Sadly, 431 new deaths have been reported:
•North West: 118
•Western Cape: 81
•KwaZulu-Natal: 77
•Eastern Cape: 68
•Gauteng: 31
•Free State: 25
•Northern Cape: 22
•Mpumalanga: 9

This brings the national death toll to 82 261.

We’ve included a downloadable spreadsheet, which we designed to help calculate the number of active cases. The spreadsheet contains data originally shared by the health department in daily press releases.

Now instead of sifting through hundreds of PDF documents, you can filter through the numbers with ease and pull out specific areas of interest — for example, focusing on changes or  the number of active cases in a specific province.

South Africa: COVID-19 Cumulative Cases from 5 March – 6 July

001. March 5 2020

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South Africa has confirmed its first case of COVID-19.

The patient is a 38-year-old male who travelled to Italy with his wife. They were part of a group of 10 people and they arrived back in South Africa on March 1, 2020.

The patient consulted a private general practitioner on March 3, with symptoms of fever, headache, malaise, a sore throat and a cough.

The practice nurse took swabs and delivered it to the lab.

The patient has been self-isolating since March 3. The couple also has two children.

The Emergency Operating Centre (EOC) has identified the contacts by interviewing the patient and doctor.

The tracer team has been deployed to KwaZulu-Natal with epidemiologists and clinicians from NICD. The doctor has been self-isolated as well.

WATCH: How South Africa’s epidemic began

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Aisha Abdool Karim is a senior health reporter at Bhekisisa.

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Dylan Bush is Bhekisisa's production and multimedia manager.